the politics of volunteering political sociology

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The Politics Of Volunteering

Author : Nina Eliasoph
ISBN : 9780745669564
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 60. 73 MB
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Many of us may have participated in grassroots groups, changing the world in small and big ways, from building playgrounds and feeding the homeless, to protesting wars and ending legal segregation. Beyond the obvious fruits of these activities, what are the broader consequences of volunteering for the participants, recipients of aid, and society as a whole? In this engaging new book, Nina Eliasoph encourages readers to reflect on their own experiences in civic associations as an entry point into bigger sociological, political, and philosophical issues, such as class inequality, how organizations work, differences in political systems around the globe, and the sources of moral selfhood. Claims about volunteering tend to be astronomical: it will create democracy, make you a better person, eliminate poverty, protect local cultures, and even prevent illness. Eliasoph cuts through these assertions by drawing on empirical studies, key data, real-life case studies, and a range of theoretical analyses. In doing so, the book provides students of sociology, political science, and communications studies with a framework for evaluating the role of civic associations in social and political life, as well as in their own lives as active citizens.

Avoiding Politics

Author : Nina Eliasoph
ISBN : 052158759X
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 89. 95 MB
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Nina Eliasoph's vivid portrait of American civic life reveals an intriguing culture of political avoidance. Despite the importance for democracy of open-ended political conversation among ordinary citizens, many Americans try hard to avoid appearing to care about politics. To discover how, where and why Americans create this culture of avoidance, the author accompanied suburban volunteers, activists, and recreation club members for over two years, listening to them talk - and avoid talking - about the wider world, together and in encounters with government, media, and corporate authorities. She shows how citizens create and express ideas in everyday life, contrasting their privately expressed convictions with their lack of public political engagement. Her book challenges received ideas about culture, power and democracy, while exposing the hard work of producing apathy.

Making Volunteers

Author : Nina Eliasoph
ISBN : 1400838827
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 21. 24 MB
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Volunteering improves inner character, builds community, cures poverty, and prevents crime. We've all heard this kind of empowerment talk from nonprofit and government-sponsored civic programs. But what do these programs really accomplish? In Making Volunteers, Nina Eliasoph offers an in-depth, humorous, wrenching, and at times uplifting look inside youth and adult civic programs. She reveals an urgent need for policy reforms in order to improve these organizations and shows that while volunteers learn important lessons, they are not always the lessons that empowerment programs aim to teach. With short-term funding and a dizzy mix of mandates from multiple sponsors, community programs develop a complex web of intimacy, governance, and civic life. Eliasoph describes the at-risk youth served by such programs, the college-bound volunteers who hope to feel selfless inspiration and plump up their resumés, and what happens when the two groups are expected to bond instantly through short-term projects. She looks at adult "plug-in" volunteers who, working in after-school programs and limited by time, hope to become like beloved aunties to youth. Eliasoph indicates that adult volunteers can provide grassroots support but they can also undermine the family-like warmth created by paid organizers. Exploring contradictions between the democratic rhetoric of empowerment programs and the bureaucratic hurdles that volunteers learn to navigate, the book demonstrates that empowerment projects work best with less precarious funding, more careful planning, and mandatory training, reflection, and long-term commitments from volunteers. Based on participant research inside civic and community organizations, Making Volunteers illustrates what these programs can and cannot achieve, and how to make them more effective.

The Human Rights Enterprise

Author : William T. Armaline
ISBN : 9780745688183
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 80. 20 MB
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Why do powerful states like the U.S., U.K., China, and Russia repeatedly fail to meet their international legal obligations as defined by human rights instruments? How does global capitalism affect states’ ability to implement human rights, particularly in the context of global recession, state austerity, perpetual war, and environmental crisis? How are political and civil rights undermined as part of moves to impose security and surveillance regimes? This book presents a framework for understanding human rights as a terrain of struggle over power between states, private interests, and organized, “bottom-up” social movements. The authors develop a critical sociology of human rights focusing on the concept of the human rights enterprise: the process through which rights are defined and realized. While states are designated arbiters of human rights according to human rights instruments, they do not exist in a vacuum. Political sociology helps us to understand how global neoliberalism and powerful non-governmental actors (particularly economic actors such as corporations and financial institutions) deeply affect states’ ability and likelihood to enforce human rights standards. This book offers keen insights for understanding rights claims, and the institutionalization of, access to, and restrictions on human rights. It will be invaluable to human rights advocates, and undergraduate and graduate students across the social sciences.

Practicing Democracy

Author : Eeva Luhtakallio
ISBN : 9780230309296
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 25. 85 MB
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This book is about the mundane, local, every day practices that constitutes democracy. It defines politicization as the key process in understanding democracy in different cultural contexts throughstudies ofFrance and Finland. By means of comparative ethnographic, media, and visual analysis that focuseson how democracy is actually practiced in different contexts, thiswork sets outa more nuanced and controversial picture of two opposite models of European politics. The familiar juxtaposition of Southern and Northern political cultures is set in a new perspective through comparative analyses of politicizations: the processes of opening political arenas and recognizing controversy.The book explores the ways in which people in different contexts deliberate, resist, and politicize, and hence practice, challenge, and transform democracy in ways that are of relevance to all political systems.

The Politics Of Compassion

Author : Bin Xu
ISBN : 9781503603400
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 25. 97 MB
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The 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed 87,000 people and left 5 million homeless. In response to the devastation, an unprecedented wave of volunteers and civic associations streamed into Sichuan to offer help. The Politics of Compassion examines how civically engaged citizens acted on the ground, how they understood the meaning of their actions, and how the political climate shaped their actions and understandings. Using extensive data from interviews, observations, and textual materials, Bin Xu shows that the large-scale civic engagement was not just a natural outpouring of compassion, but also a complex social process, both enabled and constrained by the authoritarian political context. While volunteers expressed their sympathy toward the affected people's suffering, many avoided explicitly talking about the causes of the suffering—particularly in the case of the collapse of thousands of schools. Xu shows that this silence and apathy is explained by a general inability to discuss politically sensitive issues while living in a repressive state. This book is a powerful account of how the widespread death and suffering caused by the earthquake illuminates the moral-political dilemma faced by Chinese citizens and provides a window into the world of civic engagement in contemporary China.

Fields Of Knowledge

Author : Scott Frickel
ISBN : 9781783506675
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 67. 63 MB
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This issue of Political Power and Social Theory explores the changes in science associated with the rise of neoliberalism since the 1970s. The collected papers together chart an important theoretical agenda for future research in the study of sciencesociety relations in the contemporary era.

Sport For Development And Peace

Author : Simon Darnell
ISBN : 9781849665902
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 46. 98 MB
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The role of sport in development initiatives has grown dramatically over the last five years, now finding a place in the UN's millennium development goals. In Sport and Development for Peace, Simon Darnell outlines the most recent sociological research on the role of sport in development initiatives. The book analyses the relationship between sport and international development and looks at what this reveals about socio-political economy. It addresses a gap in the literature by focusing on issues of politics, power and culture, particularly looking at volunteer experience, mega-sporting events and sporting celebrity in the context of development. Darnell questions the belief that sport can offer a 'solution' to enduring development issues. Drawing on the latest empirical research, the book is a thorough and timely analysis of the social and political implications of tying sport to development.

Hoping To Help

Author : Judith N. Lasker
ISBN : 9781501703843
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 61. 37 MB
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Overseas volunteering has exploded in numbers and interest in the last couple of decades. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people travel from wealthier to poorer countries to participate in short-term volunteer programs focused on health services. Churches, universities, nonprofit service organizations, profit-making "voluntourism" companies, hospitals, and large corporations all sponsor brief missions. Hoping to Help is the first book to offer a comprehensive assessment of global health volunteering, based on research into how it currently operates, its benefits and drawbacks, and how it might be organized to contribute most effectively. Given the enormous human and economic investment in these activities, it is essential to know more about them and to understand the advantages and disadvantages for host communities. Most people assume that poor communities benefit from the goodwill and skills of the volunteers. Volunteer trips are widely advertised as a means to “give back” and “make a difference.” In contrast, some claim that health volunteering is a new form of colonialism, designed to benefit the volunteers more than the host communities. Others focus on unethical practices and potential harm to the presumed “beneficiaries.” Judith N. Lasker evaluates these opposing positions and relies on extensive research—interviews with host country staff members, sponsor organization leaders, and volunteers, a national survey of sponsors, and participant observation—to identify best and worst practices. She adds to the debate a focus on the benefits to the sponsoring organizations, benefits that can contribute to practices that are inconsistent with what host country staff identify as most likely to be useful for them and even with what may enhance the experience for volunteers. Hoping to Help illuminates the activities and goals of sponsoring organizations and compares dominant practices to the preferences of host country staff and to nine principles for most effective volunteer trips.

Ground Wars

Author : Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
ISBN : 9781400840441
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 57. 77 MB
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Political campaigns today are won or lost in the so-called ground war--the strategic deployment of teams of staffers, volunteers, and paid part-timers who work the phones and canvass block by block, house by house, voter by voter. Ground Wars provides an in-depth ethnographic portrait of two such campaigns, New Jersey Democrat Linda Stender's and that of Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, who both ran for Congress in 2008. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen examines how American political operatives use "personalized political communication" to engage with the electorate, and weighs the implications of ground war tactics for how we understand political campaigns and what it means to participate in them. He shows how ground wars are waged using resources well beyond those of a given candidate and their staff. These include allied interest groups and civic associations, party-provided technical infrastructures that utilize large databases with detailed individual-level information for targeting voters, and armies of dedicated volunteers and paid part-timers. Nielsen challenges the notion that political communication in America must be tightly scripted, controlled, and conducted by a select coterie of professionals. Yet he also quashes the romantic idea that canvassing is a purer form of grassroots politics. In today's political ground wars, Nielsen demonstrates, even the most ordinary-seeming volunteer knocking at your door is backed up by high-tech targeting technologies and party expertise. Ground Wars reveals how personalized political communication is profoundly influencing electoral outcomes and transforming American democracy.

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